Poisonous UFA Poker: A Poker Cop Mystery

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There have been three poisoning deaths at the Las Vegas Majestic’s Poker Room. The Chief of Poker Room Security, Talbot, The Poker Cop, continues the investigation.

Detective Rook, Chief of the Las Vegas Strip Police, ignores Donny the Dealer’s story of the strange goings-on at the Sinners Table and to Red Penny and me he says, “This was not a total waste of my time. While you two were watching the betting and raising, I was watching, and taking notes, on the drinks. Before I see the bartenders and the waitresses I want an explanation of how poker room bar service works.”

Red Penny calls the Food and Beverage Manager, who sends down Ann Gilhooley, the Department’s Beverage Services Supervisor.

Ann Gilhooley, “Ancient Annie,” is a sour-faced curmudgeonly old lady who, according to Joey Rosenberg, was the waitress at the Last Supper. Annie, charming as ever, walks in and asks Rook, “Who the hell are you?”

Rook explains that he is, in fact, LVPD Detective Lieutenant Richard Rook, which earns him a heartfelt, “You don’t look like a cop. Tally looks like a cop. You look like one of my ex-husbands and he wasn’t no cop. Hey, Tally is this guy really a cop?”

“Mrs. Gilhooley,” says Red Penny, “I don’t think. . .” Annie turns her full attention to Red Penny, “Good, dear, keep that up.” She then gives the shocked Red Penny a long up and-down look, notes the long red hair, the perfect make-up, and the tight black leather dress. “Tally! Did you rent Latex Girl here from S&M; ‘R US?”

While I am truly enjoying Red Penny’s discomfort there is work to be done. I tell her, “Annie, love, I need you to be serious. Three poker players were poisoned tonight. We think it was in the drinks. Tell Detective Rook – yes, he is a cop – and Ms. Fallon – no, she is not, at least to the best of my knowledge, a dominatrix – how drinks get served in the Poker Room.”

The I-can-get-away-with-it-because-I’m-old smile fades quickly. “I’m sorry, Tally.” She turns back to Rook and Red Penny. “Listen up, you two, I’m only going to say this the once. For every six UFA poker tables that are open there’s a waitress assigned. They service their six tables for fifty minutes, at which time they get ten minutes off and the next fifty minute shift begins. After that, they go on to a different six tables. That way the tokes get spread out even between the blue boys and the purple gang. A good poker room waitress will earn a lot more than a good poker player. Trust me. When Mr. Rosenberg was still playing poker and I was still hustling drinks he borrowed money from me.

“The waitresses are supposed to take drink orders at each poker table every ten or fifteen minutes. Every visit to a table generates a drink ticket from their order pad. They write their initials and the …